With a tremble in his voice, pastor and author David Platt this week presented his resignation as the leader of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama. Platt explained in a video on the church’s website that he has accepted a position as president of the Southern Baptist International Missions Board and will vacate his current pastorate in about a month. Platt, 36, has pastored Brook Hills since 2006, growing the church to 4,500 members.
“We talk all the time about laying down a blank check with our lives before God, with no strings attached, willing to go wherever He leads, give whatever He asks, and do whatever He commands in order to make His glory known among the nations of the earth, particularly among people who have never heard the gospel,” Platt wrote in a transcript of the video on the website. “Over these past months, God has made it abundantly clear to both Heather and me that He is filling in that blank check in our lives and family with a different assignment. Along the way, God has used the elders of our church to affirm His call, and today He used the leadership of the IMB to confirm it.”
Platt said in an interview with IMB leadership that this decision was “not something he saw coming.” But he also said that God has been doing an “unusual work” in him of late. He explained how, during a recent trip to Nepal, he and his team went days without meeting a Christ-follower, and he experienced a Hindu ritual of families burning the bodies of recently deceased loved ones and scattering the ashes over a sacred river in hopes they would be reincarnated.
“It just gripped me in a deeper way,” Platt said. “I came back with a desire to say, ‘How can my life more intentionally be used to get the Gospel to unreached peoples? Maybe I need to move overseas.’ Then the [trustee] search team contacted me and said, ‘Would you be willing to consider [becoming IMB president]?’ And I’m sitting there thinking, ‘Why would I be willing to consider moving overseas, but not be willing to consider mobilizing thousands of people in a more intentional way to do that?’ … The Lord has made it so clear, clearer than just about anything else I’ve ever done in my life. I told my wife the only thing I can compare it to is asking her to marry me.”
IMB described Platt as “one of the most passionate and influential voices for missions among evangelicals.” Platt has written several books, including the bestsellers Radical and Follow Me, and is a popular conference speaker.
Brook Hills congregation members have been encouraged to attend one of the three services offered this Sunday to hear more about Platt’s decision.